Mobile is the Most Important Part of Your Hotel’s Guest Engagement Strategy – Here’s Why
Mobile is the Most Important Part of Your Hotel’s Guest Engagement Strategy – Here’s Why — By David Millili

runtriz™ · 10 Jun

In 2018, fashion retailers saw mobile purchases surge ahead of desktop signifying what will likely be a trend across industries (SalesCycle). Fifty-one (51%) percent of online fashion purchases were placed via mobile device, while desktop saw only 42.9%. In terms of demographics, a remarkable 75% of shoppers aged 18-34 bought clothes on smartphones compared with 51% of those aged 35-54. When it comes to booking travel, however, patterns look very different. Though 41% of travel research happens via mobile, just 18.3% of travel converts on mobile—a much lower percentage than other industries. Others sources, such as Phocuswright, report mobile bookings at up to 30%, notably still below average.

Why Empowering Guests Should Be Every Hoteliers Top Priority
Why Empowering Guests Should Be Every Hoteliers Top Priority — By David Millili

runtriz™ · 4 Jun

After using AI to analyze travel reviews, the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles discovered guests want to customize their breakfast, so they did away with the breakfast menu altogether and, now, allow guests to order precisely what they want every morning. Giving the customer more input and capabilities like the Beverly Hills Hotel is a top trend in restaurants, right now. Deloitte reports that 40% of customers prefer to order online, 50% who pay by phone would like to pay via app, and, by and large, customers want to be able to customize their orders. Our industry talks a lot about engaging guests and personalization, but these new levels of flexibility and customization are fundamentally about empowering customers.

How Hotels Can Embrace the Experience Economy
How Hotels Can Embrace the Experience Economy — By David Millili

runtriz™ · 16 May

Atif Rafiq begins his tenure at MGM Resorts this month. A departure for a casino hotel operation that would typically hire from within the industry, Rafiq's background isn't in hotels at all. Instead, his most recent position as chief digital officer and global chief innovation officer at Volvo Cars signifies a shift in the way MGM is thinking about hospitality, moving away from traditional approaches and toward digital experiences. As Rafiq tells Skift, "Being a Silicon Valley native in tech companies, I want to think about how to bring the digital and physical together. I'm looking at it how a tech company would look at it."

Two-Way Chat, A Game Changer for Guests—and Revenue
Two-Way Chat, A Game Changer for Guests—and Revenue — By David Millili

runtriz™ · 10 Apr

Consider most companies that are known widely for excellent customer service—think Zappos and Amazon—and you'll find two-way chat at the core of their customer service strategy. Customer service star and carmaker, Lexus, uses live video chat to help its clients customize cars entirely online as well as schedule test drives. Apple, on the other hand, has launched Business Chat, which allows users to connect with and use Apple Pay to do business with companies they find on Maps, Safari, etc. The world's leading companies have embraced chat capabilities for a reason. Customers want it. Consider the following statistics:

How Hotels Can Evolve and Reinvigorate Food & Beverage to Boost Profits and Elevate Guest Service
How Hotels Can Evolve and Reinvigorate Food & Beverage to Boost Profits and Elevate Guest Service — By David Millili

runtriz™ · 28 Mar

Just two years ago, Hotel Online reported that hotel food and beverage wasn't yet a thing of the past but that it appeared to be dying—that is unless hotels did something to revive it. Room service, the article reported, had become too costly and some hotels had taken to partnering with nearby restaurants for room service to cut down on the constant staffing it requires to keep food and beverage service in-house. Others had gone toward a convenience store model, offering a limited selection of foods that guests could purchase at the front desk; however, I have yet to see any property do this well enough to satisfy the bulk of guests. I agree that some things should die, like the in-room telephone perhaps, but room service can still elevate the guest experience while bolstering revenue. Rather than delete a service that has long been a staple of the guest experience, hotels might consider that food and beverage has merely been out of line with what guests want. Here are the two most important factors when it comes to breathing fresh life—and reaping solid returns—from food and beverage operations.

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Guest Experience vs. Guest Engagement: Which Matters Most?
Guest Experience vs. Guest Engagement: Which Matters Most? — By David Millili

runtriz™ · 21 Mar

Imagine this: You begin planning a trip to New Mexico. You ask a friend who lives there where to stay in Santa Fe. The same day you notice on Facebook that another friend happens to be in Santa Fe right now and has tagged the beautiful hotel where she's staying. You have two recommendations now but do some research anyway to be sure you're getting the right place for the trip. You decide on the hotel your first friend suggested, but the photos don't tell you everything you need to know, and the booking engine is cumbersome. Just about that time the Facebook friend texts, saying she's wild about the hotel she tagged. In the last second, you abandon the first booking and go for the second recommendation. Anyway, it's in a better location. You receive a pre-trip email with suggestions for what you might like to do during your stay along with a reminder note that your trip falls on Indian Market weekend, one of the busiest. You'll want to make reservations ahead of time at any restaurants, and the hotel will be happy to assist, noting that one or two restaurants have performances that require special reservations. You make all your dinner reservations and buy museum tickets through the property, and they send you an itinerary of the reservations they have made on your behalf. In the process, they also let you know that they have transportation to offer since getting around town will be challenging, and the fact that you are not renting a car has come up in the correspondence. They also confirm ride sharing is widely available in the small destination. You're all set. Experience versus Engagement

Different Travelers Want Different Things - So How Do You Know What Hotel Technology You Need?
Different Travelers Want Different Things - So How Do You Know What Hotel Technology You Need? — By David Millili

runtriz™ · 5 Mar

Many retail brands embrace generational marketing these days, breaking down their demographics and online/social media campaigns by what they know about baby boomers, Gen X, millennials, and the up-and-coming Gen Z generation, those born in the mid-1990s. But for experiential products, like hotels, the concept must be stretched to include the consumer journey. The whole experience and the way it is received (or not) varies based on the age of the traveler, so much so that flags such as Marriott have launched entire brands around catering to millennials. Read an article by a baby boomer who has stayed in a Moxy Hotel, and you're in for a good chuckle about how puzzling the location of both the "front desk" and breakfast in the cocktail bar can be.

Weaving Your Way Through Vendor Madness: What Should the Perfect Hotel Tech Partner Look Like?
Weaving Your Way Through Vendor Madness: What Should the Perfect Hotel Tech Partner Look Like? — By David Millili

runtriz™ · 27 Feb

There's some truth to the increasingly ubiquitous saying that all companies are technology companies now. Certainly some more than others, but I'd say hotels have officially waded into—or, perhaps, been shoved in—to tech waters so deep that it's an apt notion worth considering every time a new technology vendor is up for consideration. Look at the numbers. Hotel technology budgets have been on the rise for many years, and 2019 is no different. While 38% are satisfied with where the technology budget currently stands (or have no choice but to keep it, as is, which is more likely the case), 54% are increasing budgets, some as much as 10%.

The Great Connector: The Hotel Mobile App
The Great Connector: The Hotel Mobile App — By David Millili

runtriz · 21 Feb

The era of engagement. The digital age. Social media revolution. A lot of terms describe the time we're living in, but what they all have in common is connection. The idea of creating connection goes far beyond the business side of our lives. We hear it everywhere that creating connections with friends, loved ones, and community will sustain us—and those around us. And though some will say technology gets in the way when we're glued to mobile phones, for instance, there's no doubt that technology has allowed us to scale up our connections, both professionally and personally, in never-before-seen ways. Technology has given us the means to reach out and engage with people and places that our culture simply didn't have before.

The Modern Guest Experience & How Hotels Can Achieve It in 2019
The Modern Guest Experience & How Hotels Can Achieve It in 2019 — By David Millili

runtriz · 17 Jan

Remember when the first hotel websites came online? It was 1994 and Hyatt was among the first chains to launch one. There were many years after this spent convincing the rest of the hotel world that they needed one, just a simple site that would describe the property with a few images. We weren't even at the stage of online booking, yet. That wouldn't come for another year or two. (Truth be told, some chains haven't evolved their websites much from that first iteration. Many still have the stock "amenities" page with bullet points that leave the guest wondering about exactly what they'll find when they arrive and vague room descriptions that don't make it clear if a one-room suite really has a separate bedroom.) The first mobile app came along in 2009. Here we are in 2018, twenty-four years after the first website and a decade from the first apps. And where do we stand with all of this technology? More importantly, where do we leave the guest standing?

Hotel Loyalty in the Post-Transaction Era
Hotel Loyalty in the Post-Transaction Era — By David Millili

runtriz · 13 Dec

Hotel loyalty programs were created in the 1980s, a spinoff on airline loyalty programs implemented as marketing tools after de-regulation. Marriott was among the first with a program, and in some ways, the Marriott loyalty program has created its own powerful brand. For the most part, loyalty programs have relied on a transactional model, one based almost entirely on purchases. Stay however-many nights and achieve however-many rewards. Book directly and, perhaps, receive even more rewards. For a select few, traditional loyalty programs have worked to drive revenue and, more recently, direct bookings.

Getting to the Core of It: What Plate Tectonics and Guest Engagement Have to Do With Each Other
Getting to the Core of It: What Plate Tectonics and Guest Engagement Have to Do With Each Other — By David Millili

runtriz · 19 Nov

The hotel industry has talked ad nauseam about what guest engagement means, how it looks, what the methods should be. We know that it's not the one-way communication with a guest that the hotel industry long embraced, but, instead, a dialogue that creates emotional involvement and generates trust. A mechanism for earning a guest's loyalty via a combination of experience, service, and relationship. And this loyalty is more important than ever. According to Gartner, existing customers will account for 80% of future revenue. Consider also that a simple 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company's profitability by 75% (Bain & Co). Or that on average loyal customers are worth 10x more than their first purchase (Martech). Every effort that goes into guest engagement and loyalty results in future revenue.